Written by Elizabeth A. Haas
We recently spent a Sunday afternoon at the Andalusky Pes, a purple-walled grotto above the Letná Tunnel, not drinking but shopping. On this particular day a section of the tiny bar had been commandeered by Rebecca Eastwood, an English purveyor of retro flare who, between sips of her cocktail, provided a persuasive sales pitch—cloaked as compelling history—of each and every item I touched. The offerings weren´t voluminous but there were certainly gems to be found. Towards the front of the bar there was a trunk devoted to men´s and women´s shirts (a mix of t-shirts, work shirts, and sweaters) and a rack of funky leather and faux fur coats; the lounge area was converted to a boutique with flowy vintage dresses and A-line skirts draped over sofas, alligator handbags resting on couch cushions, and tables cluttered with retro jewelry, antique buttons, and other knick-knacks you won´t be able to live without once you´ve see them: 50´s style clocks, oversize tortoiseshell sunglasses, decorative tins, and filmy scarves galore. (My only complaint about the set up was that the low lighting made it tough to really check out the merch).
I decided on a sporty suede-look satchel in shades of charcoal and black, a long gold chain adorned with delicate orange beads, and a pair of wooden barrettes in mauve. The damage: 500 CZK. I fell in love with a 60´s-era candy dish, a creamy porcelain orb adorned with shimmery pastel swooshes, but at 450 CZK it was out of my price range. As we sipped a post-purchase rum and coke I overhead Eastwood trying to talk a young fellow into buying a Donnie Brasco-style leather jacket to which he replied, “The problem with buying a leather jacket is that I´ll have to start acting tough.” Our own conversation turned to the fact that most Czech women, as my boyfriend explained it, wouldn´t be caught dead wearing secondhand. This likely explains why quality vintage and secondhand shops can seem hard to come by in Prague. But while the Golden City may not be a vintage shopping capital on par with London, Paris, or Berlin, it isn´t barren either. Vintage shoppers who adore the thrill of the hunt won´t be disappointed here.
Devote a day to nosing around Prague´s secondhand boutiques and you´re sure to find that certain dash of vintage cool you desire. And if shopping under the influence is your thing, check out Bohemian Retro Vintage Shopping Parties, which take place a few times a month at various Prague watering holes. Visit www.bohemianretro.com for upcoming dates. The shops listed here not enough of a fashion fix, you say? Head to the Museum of Decorative Art´s exhibition Flowers in the Dustbin: Society and Fashion in Czechoslovakia in the Seventies. Running through February 17th, the display is augmented with photos and film.
Best for Celeb-spotting
Toalette (Karolíny Světlé 9, Moravská 6) is a darling place that peddles a mix of the old and new. Think antique brooches pinned to new hats and sexy vintage sweaters paired with modern-look skirts.They´ve also got an impressive selection of men´s pants and silk skirts, woolen shawls, and kitten heels. There are two Toalette locations and the on one Moravská—in close proximity to several theaters—is popular with stars of Czech screen and stage. (Ana Geislerová a fan.) These boutiques aren´t cheap and unless you are a willowy, flat-chested little thing—which I am not—you may not find things that fit. But for dreaming, wishing, and window shopping, Toalette is it.
Best Mix for a Nice Price
At Retro (Perlová 4) frothy lace nightgowns, embroidered shirts, and fringed scarves are the name of the game. They also have a great selection of belts; I picked up a brown leather one for 200 CZK along with an outrageously collared black silk shirt bedecked with a cornucopia of harvest-hued leaves for 300 CZK. Retro´s sister shop Vintage (Michalská 18) stocks equally eclectic apparel at reasonable prices.
Best for Men
Šatna (Konviktská 13) means “cloakroom” in Czech but for the secondhand shopper it means jeans—and lot of them. That´s the speciality here, jeans of all brands in any condition, from nearly new to holey moley. The kindly proprietors also accept trade-ins for store credit if bartering is your bag. A fine establishment that´s also a friend to your wallet with Prague´s widest selection of stuff for him.
Best for a Whole New Look
At Old Town boutique Laly (Stupartskà 3), browse hand-picked vintage goodies from around the world. You can also bring your clothes in for repairs and alterations, or opt for a one-of-a-kind designer experience. The art/design-school students that run Fashionshop Parazit (Karlova 25) create entirely new ensembles using recycled vintage pieces.
Best for Accesories
Galerie Art Deco (Michalská 21) is a cluttered place full of bits and pieces from the 1920´s and 30´s with a stunning jewelry collection. Diamante encrusted and enameled brooches are piled in heaps and necklaces hang about willy nilly. Higher prices reflect the good quality and careful selection of the pieces on hand. The slightly chaotic and haphazard atmosphere only adds to the place´s charm. Quasimodo Vintage Fashion (Vladislavova 17), hidden away in a courtyard in Prague 1, sells both secondhand and vintage clothes as well as loads of accessories for a decent price.
The Megasekac (Hlavní Nádraží train station and other locations) chain of stores are bursting with thrift store treasures (though be forewarned, that a good washing is usually needed to eliminate the mothball smell that clings to the clothes). Here you´ll find many a steal and deal with clothes neatly organized by the color and type of garment. The largest of the lot is located at Hlavni Nadrazi—secondhand fans will spend hours browsing through the excess of skirts, shirts, pants, tops, and tables brimming with belts, scarves, and handbags. I once scored a brilliant, if slightly beat-up looking, green Louis Vuitton bag at the Kunratice location for 50 CZK. Bri-tex (Karlovarská, in Autosalon Klokočka and Koberce K+K komplex) imports secondhand clothing from Britain. Apart from being impressively cheap, it´s got the best proportion of trash to treasure around. Here 80´s style bubble dresses and 50´s-look halter tops hang beside business suits and vests. K-Oukey (U Radnice 6 and Karoliny Světlé 10) is where Czech moms in the know go to outfit their kiddies on the cheap. A wide selection for women as well. Backstage is a nice find on Týn street that stocks both new and used clothes. A recent peek inside revealed a rack of corduroy pants and jackets from Sarah Jessica Parker´s affordable “Bitten” line, Mossimo jeans from Target, and holiday-inspired Old Navy Bags.
Best for the local experience
Prague Thrift Store offers one the city’s most unique shopping experiences, with two locations in the Czech capital: Prague Thrift Store at Dukelských Hrdinů 21 in Holešovice and Prague Thrift Store at Budečská 13 in Vinohrady.
It’s the perfect place to visit whenever you feel like doing a little bargain hunting in the local bazaars – or secondhand clothes shopping. Looking for a high-quality but affordable shopping experience? Prague Thrift Store promises better quality at lower prices, starting just from 10 CZK. No more digging through useless nasty junk: quality treasures are easy to find.
Did you know that when you reuse old items – you are helping save the world? Not only you can become an eco-hero, but you will also find amazing deals at Prague Thrift Store, whether you’re a bargain hunting pro, student, parent, senior citizen, or are just visiting for the first time. Funds from your purchases are also used to support local charitable causes.